Luab: My carabao friend-A A +A
Saturday, June 30, 2012
VERY early in the mornings when I look out of my window, I see him hiding in the cool shade of the banana trees. He isn’t ready yet for work, but he is enjoying the luxury of not yet having to work. I see him whisking his tail at insects and sometimes shaking his head from time to time to drive off flies. I wonder if he knows that I enjoy watching him because he walks back and forth in direct line of my gaze.
When I come home near dusk, he is still plowing the field. I guess the farmer still makes use of the coolness of the day. After a while, I see the farmer release him from the plow, and again he leisurely saunters where I can directly see him.
As I write this sharing, how many of us have been working like carabaos from day one of our first job to where we are today? Were we as docile as this carabao? Were we as true to our order of the day as this carabao is? I actually marvel that I haven’t seen him stampede away, considering that when I drop by the condo in midday to pick up something, he is plowing under the heat of the sun. The farmer has a buri hat for shade, but the carabao relies on his thick hide or on the fact that he has nowhere to go.
Perhaps we too were like that or are still like that. Even if work conditions are horrible and our bosses live in luxury, we accept exploitation conditions because we think we have nowhere to go. Or maybe we have just settled in a comfort zone (mediocre as it may be), with no thought of a better life because we do not want to take risks.
I noticed that my carabao friend has no watering hole. The farmer just lets him loose when the work is done. He wanders through the grassy portion, but I cannot really see if he feeds on the grass. I do see him, however, continually flapping his ears as he wallows in the grass. Are we like that too as we make do with little or no fringe benefits and we just fan ourselves with this idea that “at least we have a job?” Or do we just love the job we are in?
When I was working as an English mentor, my day started at 7:30 a.m. and ended at 10 p.m. Luckily, my husband was a salesman, away for 22 days and home only for eight days a month in the early years of our married life. Why 10 p.m.? Classes started at 7:30 and ended at 4:30 p.m. Drama Club, Student Council and the school paper were part of my tasks, so I was home by 6:30 p.m. Checking papers after supper was heavy because I had test papers, themes, home reading reports and research papers to look into. If I wanted to know my students well and I did, the work was fun. It was only when I got sick in 1989 that I gave up teaching. Something tells me that maybe my carabao friend loves feeling the ground break as the fresh earth comes up ready to meet the seeds as it comes. Or does my friend enjoy seeing the plants as they later grow and watching a good harvest knowing he was part of the whole process?
Artists, especially painters and sculptors, don’t count the time they spend at work. Sometimes, too engrossed in their work, they forget to eat. The painting which Tina Escaño Unchuan gave me hangs in my condo unit because I treasure all the work and love poured into it. Her Madonna and Child, which all of us admire, probably took her many months to produce. Such a work of art, and the painting really speaks “a thousand words.” I believe she derived much satisfaction from that painting.
The point I’m making is this. If we love what we do, nothing is too small or too big for us to give the best of ourselves.
When Father Martin Tobin, CSsR, took over being mentor of the lectors at Redemptorist Church, we were all scared of him because he demanded that we give the best of our three-minute reading for the day and no buts about it. If he was the celebrant of the mass where we were the lectors, we “quaked in our boots.” But not anymore. The constant drilling, the constant prodding did make us better lectors. I’m no longer a lector due to my being so far away now from Redemptorist, but I’m so proud of my lector friends for they have reached their peak of proclaiming God’s words with so much to give that God’s words really sink in. Everything worth doing well can be done well. My carabao friend? He inspires me to do well, in spite of the searing sun, in spite of the pouring rains of life.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 01, 2012.